Clive Barker, one of the horror genre’s most inventive and imaginative writers, has signed on to assist Amazon Studios with their latest endeavor, the high-concept period actioner “Zombies vs. Gladiators”. After the script generated considerable interest from horror addicts and movie fans alike, Amazon Studios realized that had a potential mainstream hit on their hands. In order to give the script a bit of professional polish, the company tapped Barker, who, as many already know, is certainly no stranger to the genre.
“Zombies vs. Gladiators is now in the hands of someone who has written genre-defining material throughout his career,” Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios, explained in a recent press release. “We are excited to see how Clive will add his unique narrative to capture the essence of this story and propel the project into something unique and original that could one day be enjoyed by all audiences.”
In its current state, the film chronicles the adventures a gladiator who is charged with stopping a zombie apocalypse brought forth by a vengeful shaman who meets his death in the Coliseum. Our hero is the only thing that stands between Rome and the legion of flesh-eating, blood-drinking ghouls who are hellbent on devouring anyone and everyone who gets in their way. Honestly, I’d pay good money to see this.
Barker, meanwhile, is clearly jazzed about the upcoming project. “I’m excited by the opportunity to interweave two very rich narrative threads,” he said. “One of them concerns itself with the reality of the decadence of Rome and its rise and fall. The other is a fantastical narrative element – the living dead. My brief to myself on this project is to give the audience not only zombies they have never seen before but also a Rome they have never seen before.”
For the uninitiated, Clive Barker is responsible for scores of classic horror novels and short stories, including “The Hellbound Heart”, “The Great and Secret Show”, and the infinitely enjoyable “Abarat” series. In addition to his literary work, Barker adapted and directed the 1987 classic “Hellraiser” and the 1990 cult hit “Nightbreed”, two films which are based on his insanely unique tales. He also produced “Candyman” and the award-winning drama “Gods and Monsters.” In 2007, Barker leant his considerable talents to the first-person shooter “Jericho”, which was developed by MercurySteam and distributed by Codemasters.
Regarding his partnership with Amazon Studios, Barker had nothing but positive things to say about the company. “Amazon Studios offered up the dream ticket with this project,” he explained. “In twenty-five years of working in this town, I’ve rarely had people listen to what I had to say as closely and as carefully as they did and then simply give me the freedom to go do it. Amazon Studios is an innovative creative concept. I am looking forward to providing my own perspective to make Zombies vs. Gladiators a highly commercial and entertaining movie.”
Amazon Studios, which recently began dabbling in sitcoms and children’s programming, opened its virtual doors in November of 2010. Since then, the company has literally received thousands of movie and television pilot scripts. At present, there are 16 motion pictures in development, with more to follow down the line.
However, Amazon isn’t the only company looking to broaden its horizons using established talent within the horror genre. “Cabin Fever” and “Hostel” director Eli Roth is currently developing “Hemlock Grove” over at Netflix, a 13-episode program which stars Famke Janssen and Bill Skarsgard. The series is set to debut next year on their instant streaming service.